Risk versus reward is one of the foremost thoughts for prospects on the NFL draft first-round borderline, both in health and wealth.
Looking at the national picture, eight receivers have declared counting Hopkins' late Thursday decision, with three expected as sure-fire first round picks (Keenan Allen, Cal; Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee; Robert Woods, Southern Cal). Unlike last season, it’s not a senior-heavy class at the top of the projections, with only West Virginia’s Tavon Austin expected to go in round one.
CBS Sports has Hopkins as the No. 34 prospect overall and No. 5 receiver, in the 1-2 round range, 10 spots ahead of the nearest at his position.
The NFL combine will be crucial in dollars and cents to vaulting into those top-32 picks.
Decision was 'team-driven'
In 2012, Kendall Wright was selected 20th overall by the Tennessee Titans, with a $4.4 million signing bonus, and later in the first round, A.J. Jenkins grabbed a $3.4 million bonus.
In the second round, three spots behind Jenkins – the number dropped by a full million ($2.357) for St. Louis’ Brian Quick, and at No. 43, a nearly $1.9 million bonus for Georgia Tech’s Stephen Hill with the New York Jets.
That draft wasn’t top-heavy for juniors, with only one going in the first round (Justin Blackmon), three in the second and one more in the fourth. Seniors dominated, 15 going in the first four rounds.
CBS Sports projects 10 seniors as definitely top-four round prospects in 2013.
Speaking of 2013…
Vegas likes division-foe Florida State a little more in the '13 national title picture.
The early, early (early) odds have the Seminoles at 14-1 for a BCS Championship-run, with Clemson the next spot back at 22-1.
Alabama is the overall favorite (5-1), followed by Oregon (8-1), Ohio State (17-2), LSU (12-1), Texas A&M (12-1) and Florida joining rival FSU at 14-1.
The next-nearest ACC team comes in at 66-1, Virginia Tech.
Sporting News’ Matt Hayes likes the Tigers a lot more, ranking Clemson second nationally in his preseason outlook.
“The offense will be electric,” Hayes wrote. “And another year under defensive coordinator Brent Venables could be enough to push this team to an unbeaten season.”
Season-opener Georgia lands at No. 3 and South Carolina at No. 7 in his top-10.
Phil Steele unveiled his early odds this afternoon, with Clemson No. 6 (16-1), tied with the 'Noles and Gators, but still ahead of the Bulldogs (No. 9, 20-1) and Gamecocks (No. 13, 28-1).
His top-five is Alabama (4-1), Ohio State (8.5-1), Oregon (8.5-1), Texas A&M (10-1) and LSU (12-1).